Security tightened at G20 summit venue

The 14-lane Yeongdong Boulevard and 12-lane Teheran-ro will be partially blocked during the G20 Seoul Summit slated for Nov. 11-12 to better protect Coex, the summit venue in southern Seoul, the Presidential Committee for G20 Seoul Summit said Friday.

Public transport operating around the area will be free on Nov. 12 while ordinary citizens will be prohibited from visiting the nation’s largest underground shopping mall and convention complex.

“The G20 summit will be the largest event ever held in Korea and we will be 120 percent sure about the safety and security of the summit venue. The store owners of the Coex have gratefully decided to endure losses for possibly two days,” said Kim In-jong, head of the Presidential Security Service and the G20 security team.

The security team instead will encourage media crew, delegations and others at the convention hall to use the restaurants and shops to make up for their losses. The Hyundai Department Store on Teheran-ro near the convention center, however, will be open without restrictions.

A total of 40,000 people will be guarding the main convention hall as well as the hotels and other places that the heads of the states, governments or international organizations might visit. The security team will form a triple guard line — the red zone will be right around the Coex center, where 2.2 meter-walls will be installed. The second line will be within 600 meters from the building with special fences and the third line will be within 2 to 3 kilometers around Coex.

The team will be on alert around the clock on the land and in the air. Nearby high-rise buildings will be prioritized for marking and pedestrians and drivers visiting nearby areas will have to undergo tight security checks.

Any protests or rallies against the summit will be prohibited near Coex. The organizers have designated Olympic Park, far from the Coex, as an official protest zone. Any rallies taking place outside the zone will be “severely” suppressed, Kim In-jong said.

The government also plans to refuse entrance of “professional protesters” on a global black list but still expects about 500 to come to Korea to oppose the international event.

“Looking into the details of the Pittsburgh and Toronto summits, the demonstrators are highly likely to turn violent. The military as well as fire fighters will join the security in case of an emergency,” Kim said.

The National Assembly has allotted 24 billion won for security during the G20 summit.

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